Fordham Notes: June 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Notorious Ph.D. "(When you're from the Bronx) You Got to be Strong"

Mark Naison, Ph.D.—The Notorious Ph.D.—rapped "(When you're from the Bronx) You Got to be Strong," a tribute to Supreme Court Justice Nominee Sonia Sotomayor on behalf of the Bronx African American History Project at Fordham University. Music by DJ Charlie Hustle. (Portions of this video were shot at the PS 140 graduation ceremony on June 24, 2009.)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Excelsior Video

The video for Excelsior | Ever Upward | The Campaign for Fordham is now available on YouTube.

Parts one and two of a 12-minute video on Fordham University's history and mission, and its $500 million capital campaign.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Communications Grad Places in Play-by-Play

Recent communications graduate Justin Shackil (FCRH ’09) has earned second place in a nationwide competition for the inaugural Jim Nantz Award, a contest sponsored by the Sportcasters Talent Agency of America (STAA) to recognize the top college sports broadcasters. Shackil, a student of assistant professor of communications Beth Knobel, Ph.D., receives a complementary membership in the STAA, considered to be the major clearinghouse for talent in the sportscasters job market.

You may remember Shackil as one of the three finalists in February (along with Garry Van Genderen) in an mtvU contest to cover the Academy Awards pre-Oscar red carpet. But Shackil has also worked at WFUV as a play-by-play announcer for Fordham sports, as host of Fordham’s call-in sports show One on One, and as host of The Cathy Andruzzi Show, a weekly show on the Fordham women’s basketball team.

“I owe everything I ever learned in broadcasting to WFUV,” Shackil said. “If you play a tape I recorded in my freshman year next to something I’ve done today, you’ll see the enormous difference.”

We don’t have any audio from Shackil’s freshman year, but here he is today calling a play.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Anything But Plain

Though modestly described in some literature as “plain wooden doors,” the University Church’s nineteenth century doors can only be called “plain” in the sense that Horace used the term simplex munditiis, or perhaps "simply elegant."

Recently restored, the three outstanding elements no longer fade into the woodwork. The tympanum (the top of the doors) goes back to the 1800s, where Mary, the Mother of God is depicted with a torch and sword on either side. The Latin inscription just below it, illi autem sunt in pace (“they, however, are in peace”) was added in 1948 when Francis Cardinal Spellman, then both Military Vicar and Archbishop of New York, dedicated the new Fordham University war memorial. The memorial can be found just inside the vestibule, where the names of Fordham alumni who gave their lives in service of their country during World War II are carved in oak panels.

What the doors’ recent restoration reveals is the third element, previously obscured by time and weathering: the four military service emblems: Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force. The “plain wooden doors” are now truly a jewel of history at the landmark University Church.

–Nicholas D. Lombardi, S.J.

Top to Bottom: The Doors; Marine Corps; Air Force; Navy; Army

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More Than 500 Colleges Sign onto Yellow Ribbon Program

The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting that starting in fall 2009, veterans will be able to attend more than 500 private colleges and out-of-state public institutions at a reduced price, thanks to a dollar-for-dollar federal matching program created under last year’s GI bill. Monday marked the final day for colleges nationwide to commit to the Yellow Ribbon Program, under which the federal government will match any financial aid that participating colleges provide to veterans above the cost of the most expensive public college in their state. (See: "More Than 500 Colleges Commit to Participate in New Veterans' Program" [Subscription Required])

Fordham is a Yellow Ribbon university (there is an open house at Fordham Westchester this evening). The FordhamVets program ensures that the University is as veterans-friendly as possible. Fordham participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program on all campuses, which covers all tuition and fees for Post 9/11 veterans with full benefit eligibility:

Contact Lynne O'Connell: (914) 367-3322,

Friday, June 12, 2009

Education Conference Taps Students for Ideas

Academic conferences are usually dominated by folks with Ph.D.’s who are old enough to remember where they were when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. And while Jonathan Cohen, the keynote speaker of Wednesday’s “Caring Adults/Caring Environments: What Works in Schools and Beyond,” conference at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus fit the bill, the panel he followed skewed a bit younger.

Since the focus of the conference was transforming schools into places more conducive to learning, why not include those most likely to be effected by change, namely students and parents? So the morning panel “Families, Schools and Communities: Creating Caring Environments,” which was moderated by New York City Department of Education Mental Health Services director Scott Bloom, featured Mimsie Robinson, pastor of Bethel Gospel Assembly and Shawnette Spence, parent coordinator at the Marie Curie School for Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions.

The inclusion of Kening Ye, a student at Lower East High School in Manhattan and Ebanesha Williams, a student at Prospect High School in Brooklyn lent the conference a bit of youthful energy. Generation divide notwithstanding, participants in the panel—particularly Williams—came to many of the same conclusions of Cohen, who urged educators and parents to take the problem of bullying more seriously and utilize resources freely available to them.

You can read more about Cohen's speech on Fordham's news page, and for more resources, visit the Center's website,

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Great Wheel of Seasons

It's almost summer. June 21 is the Summer Solstice: in Bronx County, New York (longitude W73.9, latitude N40.9), the sun will rise at 5:24 a.m. and set at 8:31 p.m. (United States Naval Observatory)

With summer comes barbecues, trips to the beach, the sacking of yet another beauty pageant contestant, and of course, ticks.

Since last year, scientists at the Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station maintain the "Tick Index" during the summer months at

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rose Hill English Major in Baseball Hall of Fame

Nicholas Brennan, a sophomore at Fordham College at Rose Hill, is one of only 21 students selected for the Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development at Cooperstown’s Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Brennan an English major, began his 10-week internship on June 1 in the Hall of Fame’s public programs department. The program, which began in 2001, offers college undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to work alongside museum and library staff to gain hands-on professional training in a field that closely matches the student’s major.

“When I was growing up, baseball brought my family together and working at the Baseball Hall of Fame is a way to visually reconnect with the past,” Brennan said.

This year, students from 20 universities received internships in Museum departments, including collections, communications, curatorial, education, membership, multi-media, photo archives, public programming, library research and library archives. The 21 interns were selected from more than 500 applicants nationally.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

2009 Humanitarian Assistance Class Underway

IDHA 2009 kicked off last week at Fordham's Lincoln Center campus. The monthlong International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance program for humanitarian workers and administrators is run by the University’s Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA), headed by Kevin M. Cahill, M.D. (FCRH ’57).

Humanitarian work is changing quickly, requiring a greater level of professionalism and accountability. Practitioners work in increasingly complex situations that require a multidisciplinary approach. The intensive four-week IDHA program enables aid workers to receive training with a minimal disruption of their field responsibility, and reproduces some of the complexity and intensity of conditions faced normally in a field situation. The course includes lectures, case studies, practical exercises and scenarios. A wide range of disciplines involved in humanitarian programs are studied, including management, logistics, health, psychology, social sciences, anthropology, engineering, communication, agriculture, environment, education, conflict resolution, international law, civil/military relations, security, media, politics and economics.

(For an overview of the program, see: IDHA: Building the Profession of Humanitarian Aid.)

This year's program ends June 26, and is directed by Dr. Cahill and Larry Hollingworth, CBE. The course participants will learn firsthand from UN, International Red Cross/Red Crescent and non-governmental organization officials as well as political, diplomatic and academic figures.

Monday, June 1, 2009

IPED Students Claim Prestigious Fellowships

Several students in the International Political Economy and Development program (IPED) will take prestigious positions with aid groups this fall, according to Henry Schwalbenberg, Ph.D., IPED's director.

Bridget Bucardo Rivera, who will receive her master's degree in August, has been named an International Development Fellow by Catholic Relief Services, and will be assigned to Nicaragua in the fall. Through an IPED International Peace and Development Travel Fellowship, Rivera is currently working in El Salvador with Catholic Relief Services on a four-country initiative that assists 7,100 small holder coffee producers in Central American and Mexico.

John Briggs, also an August graduate, has been named an International Development Fellow by Catholic Relief Services, and in the fall will be assigned to Uganda. He is currently working in Honduras with Catholic Relief Services on a project that will offer at-risk and gang-involved youth with options for meaningful and sustainable livelihoods through vocational training. Briggs is also an IPED International Peace and Development Travel Fellowship recipient.

Catholic Relief services uses their International Development Fellows Program to recruit the best and brightest from among the graduates of the leading graduate programs in international development, according to Schwalbenberg, who says out of a thousand applications, only about 20 are chosen. The majority of the applicants come from large elite schools such as Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs, the Fletcher School of Diplomacy and International Law and John Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies. Given the small size of the IPED program, Schwalbenberg said he is very pleased to account for about 10 percent of all successful applicants.

Chengguang Zhao, although not officially selected as an International Fellow, has been offered a contract to continue his work with Catholic Relief Services in Sierra Leone. Through an IPED International Peace and Development Travel Fellowship, Zhao has helped to implement a U.S. Department of Agriculture school feeding program. Zhao, also an August graduate, is currently involved with coordinating a grant proposal to USAID to help address Sierra Leone's extremely high child mortality rate: roughly 20 percent of all children in that country die before the age of 5.